LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The UK apparel industry is facing logistical challenges from Brexit and environmental challenges from clothing waste. Despite this, its economy has been improving and things are looking brighter for the industry. Details on these developments and more can be found on BizVibe. BizVibe is the world’s smartest B2B marketplace and allows users to discover high-quality leads, contact prospects, and source quotes. Register today to connect with over seven million companies around the globe.
UK Textile and Apparel Industry Enjoys Further Rebound
The UK textile and apparel industry is highly influential in the global market, and is known for its fashion designing, manufacturing, retailing, and education. The country is now beginning to recover from a slowdown in growth due to competition from Asia and uncertainty around Brexit, with textile and apparel production increasing by 2.5% over the past two years to reach GBP 9.1 billion in 2016.
The country’s Textiles Growth Programme has helped create 1,600 jobs and 115 apprenticeships in its first year, with investments from 340 manufacturing companies creating a further 4,450 and 380, respectively. Textile and apparel exports have risen from GBP 8.5 billion in 2015 to GBP 9 billion in 2016, an improvement of 28% since 2012. Brexit may introduce future challenges, but this upswing in the UK is encouraging for the industry.
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UK Faces High Volumes of Clothing Waste
As the UK textile and apparel market recovers from its recent slowdown, clothing consumption is thriving, which is leading to greater volumes of discarded apparel. This is becoming a significant challenge for environmental and economic sustainability in the country: The Guardian predicts that 235 million clothing items will end up in landfills this spring.
An average of 19 pieces of clothing will be disposed of per consumer in the UK this year, 7 of which will be simply thrown out. However, over 60% of clothes can be reused or recycled, with a further 35% able to be turned into rags or basic fibers that can be used in new products. Because of this, the apparel industry is stepping up its efforts to educate people on recycling their clothing.
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Brexit Brings New Challenges to UK Fashion Industry
British businesses are already beginning to feel the effects of Brexit. The pound fell dramatically after the vote, and while the UK’s GDP has risen by 0.7% in recent months, business confidence has taken a hit due to uncertainty. The weaker pound has benefitted tourism and foreign sales, as goods and vacations become more affordable to people outside the country, and fashion and retail companies have seen solid sales since the decision. However, this is often offset by a higher cost of raw materials and other imports.
Labor is also a concern, as it is still uncertain how easy it will be to travel and work between the UK and the EU after separation. Many fashion companies rely significantly on workers from elsewhere in Europe, and are already being affected by Brexit even though immigration laws have yet to change. Employees from the EU are leaving or considering leaving, and many organizations are therefore struggling to fill positions in retail, wholesale, and manufacturing. Despite this, the growth in the GDP and the increased business from outside the country show that there is potential for beneficial changes to the market.
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